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Man tries to open plane door in mid-air

MEMPHIS — An AirTran Airways flight made an emergency landing in Memphis, Tennessee, yesterday evening after a passenger tried to open an emergency exit on the plane, a television station reported.

AirTran Flight 265 was en route to Austin Texas, from Baltimore when an unruly passenger tried to open a door in the rear of the plane, prompting the flight to be diverted to Memphis, WREG-TV in Memphis reported late Monday.

Southwest Airlines Co spokesman Brad Hawkins said in an email late yesterday to the station that the flight was “safely diverted to (Memphis) this evening. I also understand there was an unruly customer among the 120 onboard”. AirTran is a Southwest unit.

John Greaud, vice president of operations at Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, told the station the passengers were taken off the plane so officials could interview them and check the aircraft. He said the man, who was not identified, did not appear to be intoxicated.

The station said the man was detained by the FBI for two hours. Airport officials were working with the FBI to determine if any charges would be filed, the station said.

The plane later completed its flight to Austin. (Reuters)

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